This episodic female police force anime ran for a full 14 years with an OVA, 3 seasons, a special series, and other adaptations.
By: Nicole S. Castro on April 14, 2022 at 13:19 PHT
Welcome to 2022! If you just finished the recently concluded comedy anime Police in a Pod starring police academy fresh graduate Mai Kawai and her senior colleague Seiko Fuji, we're here to introduce you to a similar anime series which was already airing in the 1990s: You're Under Arrest!
You're Under Arrest (Japanese: 逮捕しちゃうぞ, Romaji: Taiho Shichauzo) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kōsuke Fujishima. It was serialized in Kodansha's seinen manga magazines Morning Party Zōkan and Morning from 1986 to 1992. The English translation was licensed by Dark Horse Comics.
The anime series was produced by Studio Deen, first as an original video animation (OVA) with 4 episodes from 1994 to 1995.
It then expanded to an anime TV series, also by Studio Deen, whose first season (with 51 episodes) began airing in 1996. It was then followed by a 21-episode special series in 1999 called You're Under Arrest Special. This was then followed by an animated film (1999), a full season 2 (2001) with 26 episodes, and a season 3 (2007-2008) with 24 episodes.
The franchise also has a game for PlayStation (2001) and a live-action TV drama (2002) totaling 9 episodes.
Plot and Throwback
The series stars two female leads: Natsumi Tsujimoto (CV: Sakiko Tamagawa) and Miyuki Kobayakawa (CV: Akiko Hiramatsu) who both work as policewomen in the fictional Bokuto Police Station located in Sumida, Tokyo.
The majority of the series takes place in the Greater Tokyo Area, where the two leads and their colleagues solve crimes, catch criminals, and get into all sorts of trouble.
The series is largely episodic with Natsumi and Miyuki solving a new case every episode, making it a great comfort show to watch when you want to unwind after a long day without diving into intricate plot.
As the protagonists, Natsumi and Miyuki are largely the reason why their daily misadventures at Bokuto Station are so interesting. Natsumi is a martial artist with superhuman strength, an outgoing personality, and a propensity for mischief. Meanwhile, Miyuki acts as Natsumi's opposite by being more quiet and polite. She balances out Natsumi by being the main strategist, tech expert, and superb driver while Natsumi goes out chasing the bad guys. As early as the 1990s, the anime industry was already conceptualizing powerful female characters, though they weren't as sensationalized as the male protagonists of your usual shounen anime.
Another interesting character to mention is Aoi Futaba (CV: Rica Matsumoto), who is a transgender woman officer introduced in episode 1, season 1 of the TV anime. She adds comedy to the series with her realistic frustrations of being transgender (e.g. her bra padding falling out, or having her chest accidentally touched during martial arts training). The characters note that Aoi acted a lot more manly back in high school, which is the polar opposite of her now very pronounced femininity. Her work partner is the gossip-loving but intelligent and unusually lucky Yoriko Nikaidou (CV: Etsuko Kozakura).
As mentioned, the anime series is predominantly episodic, so as long as you know who the characters are you'll be able to skip or choose your desired episodes without losing too much context.
The anime series concludes with the Red Phantom arc in season 3 (You're Under Arrest: Full Throttle), wherein Miyuki and cast pursue a gang of street car racers causing trouble. With Daimaru Nakajima (CV: Takeshi Aono) getting injured during the pursuit, Miyuki feels immensely guilty and almost resigns from her job. Fortunately, they were able to arrest Red Phantom in the end.
Whether you watched You're Under Arrest on Japanese TV channels or on AXN (for international viewers), we're pretty sure it was a significant part of your early to mid 2000s. These kinds of long-running anime series aren't as common anymore in the 2020s (and rightfully so because they tend to get monotonous in the absence of major plot turning points), but we're happy and content with what You're Under Arrest gave us when it was airing. It was simple, enjoyable, funny, and cool with the fight scenes. And on a more serious note, it was low-key revolutionary at the time too for such liberal perspectives on gender identity and gender stereotypes.
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NICOLE S. CASTRO
Nicole is based in the Philippines and works as a freelance Japanese Translator/Interpreter and copywriter (English). She is a JLPT N2 passer who watches anime to "study" for N1. She has a long career history on LinkedIn (with primary focus on media and translation), but her anime watchlist is much, much longer.